With the likes of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, Mexico has a long tradition of politically engaged public art, which has often depicted—with varying degrees of accuracy—the country’s indigenous population. Two gifted young artists from the collective Tlacolulokos have been commissioned to create a new artwork in the Central Library’s Rotunda in juxtaposition to the 1933 historic Cornwell murals. They will discuss their new work as well as their street-level actions in their hometown of Tlacolula, Oaxaca, with the godfather of Cholo writing, Chaz Bojórquez, and project curator Amanda De La Garza. What is the role of clandestine art actions as a form of political dissent? How effective is it? What are the parallels and differences between how street art is used in Mexico and the United States?
Simultaneous translation was provided by Antena Los Ángeles.
This program was produced as part of The Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Chaz Bojórquez was exposed to the uses, values, and craft of East Los Angeles graffiti, a tradition since WWII. In 1969, he created a tag that represented him and the streets—a stylized skull called “Señor Suerte” (Mr. Lucky), which became a gangster tattoo image of protection from death. Bojórquez is acknowledged as a pioneer and ‘Godfather of East Los Angeles ‘Cholo’ style graffiti for more than 50 years. Bojórquez is represented in numerous permanent museum collections: The Smithsonian Institute (American, History and Archive Museums), LACMA, MOCA, and Laguna Art Museum. Bojórquez exhibits and lectures internationally and paints “live” at Street Art exhibitions demonstrating his unique letter styles and pursuing commercial/cultural assignments.
Javier Dario Canul Melchor (Tlacolula, México, 1984) is a visual artist living and Working in Tlacolula and Oaxaca. He began his self-taught technical training in 2002 through workshops and courses at La Curtiduría –Contemporary Space for the Arts in Oaxaca City. His painted work reflects a quest for technical perfection, while his graphic work reflects an interest in evolving beyond traditional approaches to mural production. His participation in urban art collectives is a response to the search for diverse means of expression. He entered the art scene in 2010 after receiving a scholarship to attend CEACO (Contemporary Art Specialty Courses) at La Curtiduría under the direction of Demián Flores, Mónica Castillo, Edgardo Ganado Kim and Naomi Rincón Gallardo. This experience has influenced the diverse creative language he employs in developing the themes in his work. Currently, Canul facilitates an experimental visual space in the community of Tlacolula, focused on experimenting with diverse mediums and with work that addresses social and political concerns. The goal of the space is to create networks between the participants and the artistic sphere while similarly promoting and circulating the artistic proposals developed there.
Cosijoesa Eleazar Cernas García (Tlacolula, México, 1992) lives and works in Tlacolula and Oaxaca. He is a self-taught artist and has participated in visual art workshops and classes for the past ten years. He studied contemporary art at La Curtiduría in Oaxaca City from 2012-2014 under the leadership of artists Demián Flores, Mónica Castillo, Edgardo Ganado Kim, and Naomi Rincón Gallardo. His collective exhibitions include Mexicanos al Grito de Guerra (Tlacolula, 2011) and Es el Fin al fin (Casade la Cultura Tlacolula, 2012) and participation in the Puntos de Encuentro Visual Arts Festival (Oaxaca 2012). As part of the Tlacolulokos’ exhibition The South Never Dies (MUAC, 2014; Museo Amparo, 2015), Cernas screened the videos “The Dance of the Marmots,” “Place of the Crooked Things,” and “Eternally Forgotten.” He currently teaches silk screening classes, graphic design and voice over at the King Kong workshop in Tlacolula. His musical project “Sonido Cuche” remixes cumbia music and audio from yellow journalism. As a member of the Tlacolulokos collective, Cernas is in charge of diffusion, registering and editing the audiovisual material, and maintaining social networking spaces, in addition to his contributions as an artist.
Amanda de la Garza Mata is the curatorial consultant for Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A. De la Garza lives and works in Mexico City as an Adjunct Curator at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC, UNAM). She has been awarded the Emerging Curators Prize, Frontiers Biennial, and the International Curatorial Projects Grant. This is the second exhibition in which she has worked with the artist collective Tlacolulokos.